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Minutes of Region 9 Board of Education, 09/15/2015

AGENDA: Region 9 Board of Education

RECEIVED 09/22/2015 10:23am
Michele R. Grande – Redding Town Clerk


Attendance: Region 9 Board of Education members – Colangelo (arrived at 7:24 p.m.), D’Agostino, Gombos, Hancock, Hocker, King, Johnson, Lewis Administration: McMorran, Pierson Ugol, Pin, Sullivan, Desmarais, Geraghty, Roszko, Santangeli, Sheehy

Others: Eight members of the community and staff , a representative of the local newspapers, and a videographer Mr. Hocker called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m. Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education approve the minutes of August 27, 2015 regular meeting as submitted. Gombos, Johnston. Approved. Unanimous.

 Student Report:

Justin Schachter Secretary of the Class of 2016 reported on several student activities and other news, including sports game results. Rebecca Chen (Class of 2016) has been announced a National Merit School semi-finalist; Deirdre Heggie (Class of 2015) is the recipient of the Peter Hanson Scholarship award; an upcoming “Mr. Barlow” event, outdoor movie and auto show; the fall play will be Shrek; and students are gearing up for SATs.

Public Comment:   None.

Board Member Comment: None.

The submitted invoice from Imperial Roofing for $129,200.00 was withdrawn as the panel installation is not yet complete. The delay in completion of the roof is due to a miscount of panels for the side of the roof. Panels will be delivered next week. Project will be done by the first week of October.

Patty Roszko, Director of Special Services, gave a presentation on the 504 Plan process and IEPs. Other staff members contributing to the presentation were Maggie Egan, special education teacher and instructional leader, and Henry DelAngelo, school counselor. Data on number of students receiving services is included in the Special Education Report. Ms. Roszko will update the board on the aggregate cost of outplacements.

Chris Angell, Director of Learning Resources and Information Technology, gave a presentation on technology for the district, including the rollout of Google Aps for Education over the summer and its usage at the beginning of the school year, the technology plan, bulking up of WiFi access for student-owned initiative, increasing bandwidth. Grants and E-rate funding are being explored. SmartBoard is offering a 30% discount to trade in older SmartBoards for newer models. Staff training on integrating technology will be ongoing. A three-year Technology Plan was developed based on the State Department of Education’s guidelines and submitted, but the State reported one week after submission of the report that the plans would not be reviewed this year. The plan will be presented to the Technology Committee later this year.   A grant has been submitted for $10,000 to the state for increasing bandwidth and replacing older iMacs in the special education resource rooms.

Anne Kipp gave an update on the Community ASSETS network, using resources in our communities and collaboration of community members to expose students to job shadowing opportunities, internships, distance learning, career pathways, and Capstone projects.

Gina Pin, Interim Head of School, gave background on the development of a protocol to use a breathalyzer on all students attending school events such as homecoming, prom, and the senior banquet. She stated area schools have this practice in place. It was piloted at Barlow at last year’s senior banquet after previous incidents of alcohol use at other school events that raised concern for student safety. The event was successful and highly attended (all but four students of the class attended). Administration would like to continue this practice.

Motion: Move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept the breathalyzer procedure as presented by the school administration. Colangelo, King. Motion failed. 4-4-0. Voting for: Colangelo, Hancock, Hocker, King. Voting against: D’Agostino, Gombos, Johnston, Lewis.

Discussion that followed the motion before the vote: Mr. D’Agostino stated that he would vote against the motion. He stated that although he was very concerned about the safety of students, he felt this would be stepping on their 4th Amendment rights. He stated that he thinks there is no true deterrent other than education. Mr. Lewis stated that he was disappointed to receive the proposal for three reasons: legal, cultural and effectiveness of protocol. He felt the legal situation is not clear cut, the practice would change climate of the school, was insulting to students and an ineffective idea – disproportionate response to a small number of student incidents. He stated he would vote against the motion.

Mrs. Gombos stated that she would vote against the motion. Her perspective was that 14 incidents involving students with alcohol over four years was low. She said she would be in favor of the Policy Committee taking up a broader study.

Mrs. Colangelo stated that she does not believe in infringing on students’ rights. Based on legal information she reviewed and the fact that many area schools have this procedure in place, she would vote for the procedure in the interest of student safety.

Dr. McMorran reported that a member of the Easton community asked to donate $1,500 anonymously to the school to recognize the good work of the faculty to be used for such things as a midyear staff luncheon.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education accept with gratitude the anonymous donation of $1,500 to be used as suggested. Gombos, King. Approved. Unanimous.

Motion: move that the Region 9 Board of Education change the starting time of its meetings to 7:30 p.m. commencing with the 2016 calendar year to be posted accordingly. Gombos, Lewis. Approved: 6-1-1. Voting for: D’Agostino, Gombos, Hancock, Hocker, Johnston, Lewis. Voting against: King. Abstaining: Colangelo.

Mr. King felt there should be a time limit on the length of the meetings. Mrs. Colangelo abstained because she will not be on the Board after the November election.


Interim Head of School: Gina Pin announced that Gwynne Wittmann has been hired as the new Choral Director and will start on October 19th. She reported that in the month of September 42 colleges/universities are scheduled to visit with Barlow juniors and seniors in the College and Career Center. She shared that a student project is underway to digitally capture the various memorials located both in and outside the school building, explaining the stories behind them. The information will be posted on the school Website and updated as necessary. She also spoke about the 9/11 ceremony held at Barlow where Lee and Eunice Hanson were on hand to present the Peter Burton Hanson Award for Humanity to Class of 2016 member, Deirdre Heggie. She reported that Open House will be held on September 24th and invited all Board members to attend.

Dean of Students: Dan Geraghty reported that auditions will be held for the fall play, Shrek, The Musical in the next few weeks, and the JBHS Debate Team will host a regional debate tournament in mid-October.

Director of Athletics: Mike Santangeli reported on the success of multiple school athletic teams as they began the fall season. School spirit initiatives have been in full force with FalcoNation leading the way. FalcoNation is making substance abuse prevention its number one priority this year. They are organizing a Homecoming Pep Rally for November 13th.

Request for Board Committee Action: Dr. McMorran requested that several Board committees need convene this year: Curriculum, Policy, and Technology.


Motion: move to recess to Executive Session to discuss special education legal issues. King, Johnson. Approved. Unanimous. Dr. McMorran, Mrs. Pin, and Mrs. Roszko were invited to join the Executive Session.

The public session ended at 9:43 p.m.

The meeting reconvened to public session at 10:05.

Motion: move that the meeting be adjourned. Colangelo, Johnston. Approved. Unanimous.

The meeting was adjourned at 10:06 pm.

Submitted by Catherine Gombos, Board Secretary

Recorded by Vicki Cram